The ripples from the Five News appearances (see http://www.changingfaces.org.uk ) seem to continue almost unabated and I have even heard people say that they think a damn has been breached. Time will tell if broadcasters have taken on board the messages– that it’s OK to put people with unusual faces on the box in everyday roles and that it’s not OK to (unwittingly?) perpetuate the stereotyping of people with disfigurements.
I have been to some amazing events this week – and have done a lot of talking and speech-making! Three stand out…
Event One was the People of the Year Awards of RADAR (newly conceived as the Royal Association for Disability Rights) which was even more glitzy than ever, enlivened by Frank Gardner’s compering and – despite over-running due to some rather long (?political) speeches – a superb celebration of inspiration and commitment. I was privileged to give the Disabled Young Person of the Year Award to Rian Dean who brought a successful DDA case against Abercrombie and Fitch (http://www.radar.org.uk/radarwebsite/tabid/265/default.aspx).
Next to The Guinea Pig Club’s 69th Annual Lunch – Second World War fighter pilots (mostly) who experienced severe facial burns and were saved and then reconstructed by Sir Archibald McIndoe at Queen Victoria’s Hospital, East Grinstead. What a bunch of guys, now down to under 20 in number but startling fit in mind and body – and with faces so smooth, proudly worn and weathered! The humour was unquenchably positive! I cycled away after 2 great hours but gather that, typically, the whole ‘lunch’ lasted six and half hours!
Last, the British Legal Awards held in the glittering Billingsgate in the City of London had Changing Faces as their charity of the year – and what an event! 800 lawyers competing for the ‘best in show’ – with Alexander Armstrong’s dry wit embellishing the evening. Came away late feeling unexpectedly elated that our campaign for face equality had clearly won some new adherents.
Weekend recharging definitely required!